Public Library Nonresident Card Services: Fee Methods

Each public library board must take action each year on whether to offer nonresident cards and, if participating in nonresident services, to determine the fee for the cards.

The Illinois State Library's rules for public library nonresident services provide for three options for the calculation of nonresident card fees (23 Ill. Admin. Code 3050.60).

General Mathematical Formula:

  • The library divides its total local property tax revenue (excluding state and federal funds) by the local population (using the most recent federal census information available). This number is multiplied by the average number of persons per local household (again, using the most recent federal census data). This is the fee charged to all nonresidents when purchasing a library card. See calculator on right.

Tax Bill Method:

  • For Home/Property Owners: The library’s tax rate is multiplied with the valuation of the nonresident’s property assessment. The nonresident must bring their most recent tax bill then this method is used. When this method is chosen, each nonresident card sold must be individually recalculated.
  • For Renters: The library will either charge a minimum of 15 percent of the monthly rent as the annual nonresident fee, or devise its own formula. The local formula takes into account the average local rent of the general community of the public library, property tax rate, and the nonresident fee for residential homeowners.

Average Nonresident Fee in Library System:

  • A library must have written approval from the Director of the Illinois State Library to use this method, which is applicable only to public libraries with a disproportionate amount of agricultural, industrial, mining or commercial property. In RAILS, few libraries would qualify.

According to ISL, the nonresident fee cannot be any less than that paid by residents but should approximate the cost paid by residents. There is nothing in the law or the rules that prohibits a library from charging a reasonable amount more than the cost of library service to residents. For example, a library could include within the nonresident fee the cost of administering and issuing a nonresident card.